So the big thing about last night's World Series game, where the Tigers tied the Series at one apiece, was that Kenny Rogers was spotted with a dark stain on his left hand, which he dismissed as a "clump of dirt" that was somehow stuck to his pitching hand.
ESPN reports that this isn't the first time this post-season that Rogers has had this stain on his hand. Does this mean that the Tigers' postseason run, which has been based in large part on the fact that Rogers has been untouchable in the playoffs, is tainted?
More importantly, why doesn't anyone seem to care?
Yesterday, at the book signing for our friend Mark Swartz's new book, H2O, I told someone that I write about baseball and the first reaction was "what do you think about steroids?" I said that one of the few constants about athletics is that everyone wants an advantage, and will do whatever they think will work to get a leg up on the other guy. Was that way in the day of Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, straight on through to Barry Bonds.
I've never understood why some cheating drives people crazier than others. No one got too worked up over Gaylord Perry loading up the ball, no one gets too worked up over the fact that Whitey Ford admits to scuffing the ball. So I guess the reaction to Kenny's "clump of dirt" isn't surprising. It's like the last Summer Olympics, I remember one of the swimmers, a Japanese guy (IIRC), going through a turn in one of the events where the swimmers had to do different strokes each time across the pool. He goes through the turn, and one of the announcers notes, calmly "That's an illegal dolphin kick." That was all. Didn't mention it again, no controversy developed over that in a festival of competitions where everything seems to cause controversy.
It was no big deal, I guess. Not like he tested positive for nandrolone, or (gasp!) cannabis, or anything. Just an illegal maneuver that no one other than the announcer spoke up about, that's all.
In this morning's New York Times, muckraker Selena Roberts was complaining about "pampered" Albert Pujols's nasty disposition, and contrasting that to the belle of the World Series Ball, Kenny Rogers. Prior to Pujols making some tepid comments about Tom Glavine, I don't recall anybody complaining about his "dour" disposition; but contrasting that with man of the people Kenny Rogers whose curveball "channels the energy of the crowd" is the height of hypocrisy.
I guess if A-Rod wants to win over the press, he better learn to throw a spitter.